Taking the shop to the customer

This week photos and video have emerged that demonstrate a unique idea from Tesco's Home Plus brand in South Korea for generating sales in the real world away from their stores.  They used billboard space in public places like train stations to create ‘2D’ shelves to advertise their products.  Beside each item is a QR code which commuters can scan with their mobile phone to add the item to their online shopping basket.  On the surface, this looks like an excellent PR gimmick, but underneath is a very sound business strategy. 

Tesco came up with the idea when facing the challenge of trying to become the number one grocery retailer in South Korea without having to open new stores.  In order to do this, Tesco needed to increase footfall to their stores and boost online shopping. 

By creating virtual shelves on billboards in public locations, they’ve essentially taken their store floor to the commuters.  Store footfall is increased by proxy, as commuters are ‘browsing the aisles’ while they wait for their train, and online shopping is boosted by the mobile shopping apps scanning the codes. 

We’ve talked about QR codes before, and have used them ourselves to promote our microsites and social media profiles in the real world.  The beauty of QR codes is that they can be customised to either have one per SKU, or even one per item in each advertising location, which can be tracked to analyse exactly how each item in each location is performing using simple online traffic analytics. 

By pioneering this approach, Tesco has achieved three important goals:

  • It has produced a very original and exciting viral advertising campaign
  • It has created a useful source of detailehd product analysis in the QR codes
  • Most importantly it has found a way to boost the bottom line without a significant increase in overheads or taking the risk of opening new stores in areas with strong competitor saturation

This is an excellent concept and is likely to drive the adoption of more direct selling methods through display advertising, and will make a lot of business that are trying to find ways to boost sales without increasing costs sit up and pay attention to the opportunities of cross-channel retail.

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Everything Retail.


Principal contributors:

Sarah Taylor, Senior Industry Director, Oracle Retail.


Marie-Christin Hansen, Senior Industry Campaigns Manager, Oracle Retail.


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